My fear of failure.

I’ve been seeing my new psychologist in London every week for the past 4 weeks, to start with I wasn’t too sure about it, but it’s been going okay and I’m getting use to him and his approach. It’s hard going in the appointment but I seem to have actually progressed with this psychodynamic approach as each week has gone on I have got better at identifying my emotions and the reasons behind them and my anxiety. It’s also been getting easier to talk to him, rather than lots of silence.

Last week he asked me to talk about something he read in one of my clinic letters from my neurologist. It was to do with studying and going to uni, so I told him about how I went back to college to try and obtain some qualifications because I desperately wanted to go to uni. My main reason for wanting to go to uni was because I just wanted to be normal, and secondly that I wanted to be a psychologist. However I was unable to complete the course because of my pain and ended up dropping out of college for a second time.
He then went on to ask if I would agree to some homework, he wanted to me to go home and look at some volunteering opportunities in my local area. He suggested things like volunteering for the Samaritans. He asked if I would be willing to do something like that, I said I am more than open to looking, however it’s the actual going forward with it that would be the problem. Don’t get me wrong I would love to do something productive like volunteering however in actual practice I worry that it wouldn’t work out. I’m scared of failure, actually I’m terrified. Everything I have ever started in the past 7 years I have not completed, I didn’t finish school, then college, then I had a job/apprenticeship and I didn’t finish that either, all because of the pain getting too bad that it becomes impossible. I feel like a complete failure and I don’t want to enhance that feeling by yet again having to drop out of something because the pain gets too bad. But I’m stuck in this cycle of never doing anything for fear of pain and failure, meaning I never move forward and enhancing the feeling that my life is stuck. Today I’ve had a look at some volunteering near me and I’ve found a couple of things that I’d possibly be interested in. Both of which I’ve actually looked into before however I’ve never gone forward with either for fear of pain and failure.  I’d like to do either of them but I’m just terrified of how I would feel if I started and then had to give it up because of the pain.

He also gave me a second piece of homework, which was to get out my old college papers which I obtained all distinctions on. As often I get into the belief that I’m not clever and I have never achieved anything. The belief I have that I’m not clever is not true (hence all the distinctions at college), but I guess I try to believe it because I actually am really clever but I never get to use my intelligence and I’ve never managed to achieve anything with how smart I actually am because of my pain. So I guess thinking that I’m not clever is almost like protection from the feelings I get in knowing that I actually am clever but I feel it will never amount to anything worthwhile and meaningful. That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but somehow it makes sense to me. Anyway I got them out and had a read through them and I was reminded about how easy and straight forward I found the assignments. I was also reminded about how I felt when I realised I was going to have to drop out of college because the pain was too bad. I was distraught despite knowing yet again in my life that education was not the right thing for me and my headache and that in my eyes I had failed at something again.

This homework task was okay, I kind of figured out the reason behind my thinking that I’m not clever when actually deep down I know I am. It also revealed how much I’d like to do something productive like volunteering, though I don’t know if I will go through with it because of my fear of failure due to pain.

I’m in London twice this week, Wednesday to finally see my neurologist and hopefully get some answers on my extra pain. And Friday to see my psychologist again, which is my final session out of an initial block of 4 sessions, however I would like to continue seeing him as it seems to be being helpful, so hopefully he can offer me some more sessions.



After having some time to reflect.

I have been so absent from here recently, it has been a difficult few weeks with a lot going on and a lot of thoughts going through my head. Sorry for the lack of posts but am hoping to be back blogging more frequently again now.
I have had some time to reflect this week and really think deeply about what I am going to do. I don’t think university will be right for me I think it will be detrimental to my health both physical and mental, someone I care about and value their opinion told me today that what would be the point in a degree if I end up dead. Blunt, but true. So that brings up the question of what do I do instead and this has really been getting to me as I feel like I have to do something meaningful and I feel like I need to be working towards something.
I am currently in Dubai and on the flight here I really had some time to think about everything. I feel like I need some time out of everything, time to focus on getting my pain under control naturally again, time to get consistently stable with my health, time to work on my acceptance. I have had periods of being stable and okay over the past year, so I know it is possible as long as I put the work in. The problem is that they have been short lived and I feel like I need to get it so that I am consistently feeling okay before I move on and do something with my life. I feel like I will be unable to move forward with a job and a career unless everything else is under control, and if it is not then I know I will not succeed in what I want to do. So I am going to spend some time however long I need to do this, maybe even up to a year, whatever it takes to reach my goals in managing my pain and stability. Putting into practice everything I have learnt, making it a routine and sticking to it consistently.
After that I might look at slowly introducing some other stuff as well as my pain management, maybe some volunteering to get some life experience and then maybe a counselling course to become a counsellor.
Being in Dubai, today I saw my favourite person; my old school counsellor. I discussed all of this with her, she probably knows me best in the world and always understands my feelings about the pain. She agreed that I need some time to get myself sorted before starting anything again.
I will not be returning to college next year to finish my course, and therefore will not be going to university for now. Instead I will be focusing on getting back the good place I have been in before however have not managed to stay there consistently, but I will get back there with time, work and effort and hopefully I will manage to stay stable indefinitely. And then I can start to move forward towards what I ultimately want to achieve from my life, but my pain management techniques along with my acceptance have to be made a priority in my life, above all else – this is what I have failed at before and I need to work to succeed in this for the sake of my health and well-being.

It’s difficult.

It’s been a particularly difficult couple of weeks, with heightened pain, issue’s with college and the realisation that I may not just go off to university in the way that I want to, if at all. I will be honest it has all made me down right depressed, the depression has hit me full force and I’ve fallen back into old thinking habits. It also isn’t helping at the minute that all I see when I log on to Facebook is people my age who were my friends/acquaintances in my year at school posting that they have handed in their dissertation, that they have officially finished university and can’t wait for the next chapter of their lives. And then there’s me, not even started university, not sure if I ever will get to go like I wanted and have nothing to show for the last 3 years whilst they’ve been completing university degrees. I’m not sure if I will be able to achieve what they have. I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything or gone anywhere in the entire 5 years I’ve been sick. It just makes me so angry at the world, at my pain, at my situation, at everything. How is any of this fair? What did I do to deserve this?

Despite all this today I completed my final law assignment, well when I say completed I mean I’ve finished it other than some re writing to make sure it’s within the word limit which needs to be done once my teacher has looked over it. Hand in day and my last day of college for the year is on Wednesday, along with a careers advice appointment to discuss what my options are with everything. Hopefully the appointment will make me feel a bit clearer about everything because at the minute I just feel confused, lost and don’t know where on earth I am going.

On Friday I am off to Dubai for a week, I’m hoping it may cheer me up a bit, it’ll be nice to see my dad and sister for a while.

Re-evaluating my life plans.

Since getting sick I have always felt like I have to do something meaningful with my life, make a difference, and make the pain matter. I wanted to go to university, to study psychology, to become a counselling psychologist, to help people in the way I feel is most beneficial to a person, in a way that has been the most beneficial to me. I went back to education this year in an attempt to make this dream happen. It hasn’t been easy, the majority of the year I’ve been in flare up, there’s been so many ups and downs, so many freak outs over college work, so much stress and anxiety. It’s safe to say it’s been very hard and unfortunately I don’t think there is a happy ending either. On the up side I have proved I still have a brain and somehow it still works with the pain, even though I thought it didn’t. On all but one of my assignments I achieved distinctions, and only narrowly missing out on the other one.

I have hit another massive flare up, one of many long ones this year. It has come at the most inconvenient time, where I have one final assignment due for law, where I have a psychology exam to prepare for, which is in three weeks time. The past three weeks I’ve been mostly unable to do anything but lie in bed or on the sofa in pain feeling miserable because I am unable to do anything, unable to study. So to say I am unprepared for my psychology exam would be an understatement, I know I am being negative when I say this, but I won’t pass the exam. I know myself well and I know that at the minute I don’t know any of the information for the exam and there is not enough time to learn it, and not to mention I am still in flare up unable to do an awful lot.
I spoke to my course tutor last week, she suggested postponing the exam for me till next March, and extending my course another year, so that next year all I am taking is one subject and an extra exam from this year, and then the last subject the following year. She said she worries about how if I am unable to cope with part time college which is what I have been this year how on earth am I going to cope with university; and I worry about that too. So much so it’s led to me having to re-evaluate things.

I always wanted to go to university but maybe studying is not the right thing for me and my pain, it certainly been hard for me this year, but would going out and getting a job be any better for me and my pain. I don’t know and that’s the problem, and then there’s the problem that I don’t know how I can do something meaningful with my life without having education and a degree. I feel very strongly about doing something meaningful with my life and I know that I wouldn’t be happy with just any old job, where I wasn’t making a difference and helping people.
I’ve got to decide, do I stick with college and university, extend my course by another year and just hope I can drag myself through it. Or accept that maybe studying isn’t for me despite being intellectually able, it just may not be the right thing for my condition and try and do something different instead. I really don’t know what to do, I am the sort of person that if I don’t have some sort of plan or idea for my future I feel very distressed and lost and it is safe to say I am feeling that way now.

Every time.

Every time I admit I’m doing well something happens and I end up going back downhill. Still in this flare up and it’s awful, I feel awful, I feel miserable, depressed, angry, stressed and anxious. Yes I m well aware that’s a lot of negative emotions to be feeling. I don’t know what to do and I have no one to talk to. I am unable to do any college work, my end of year graded exam for psychology is in less than a months time now, I have so much revision to do but I can’t do any of it because of the pain, so I can’t see myself passing the exam. I have my final graded law assignment due in 2 weeks, I am yet to start it because of the pain and I am feeling stressed about it. I feel like giving up with it all at the minute.

I don’t know what to do, the problem is the pain and that can’t be fixed or helped, who knows how long I will be in flare up, the last one lasted a month. I don’t know how to do everything I need to do when I’m in so much pain. I can’t even keep up with my pain management techniques, I don’t know how to do it all.

At the minute I just feel like crying, I have spent the day on the sofa watching tv with my dog, that’s exactly what I did yesterday as well, oh and the day before also. My depression is creeping back in and I have no one to talk to about it all and I just don’t know what to do.

Straight back into flare up.

Went back to college last Tuesday after two weeks off for Easter. I had a good Easter, got out of flare up after about a month of high pain, and had relatively low pain whilst I was off college. However going back to college last Tuesday has sent me straight back into flare up. High pain Tuesday night, high pain after college on Wednesday and all evening, spent all of Thursday in bed with high pain. Friday I had a bit of a POTS episode and had a massive seizure in the bathroom, which resulted in me being in bed all day again Friday, because my blood pressure and heart rate weren’t playing ball and my pain was bad also. Saturday was also spent in bed with high pain. Sunday I managed to go to work but as soon as I got home I needed to be in bed, and today I’m in bed with high pain.

I have a mock psychology exam tomorrow at college, but because the pain has been so high and I have had to be in bed with it pretty much for the past 5 days I haven’t been able to study for it. We know what the questions are but for the life of me I can’t remember any of the information, definitions, studies or evaluation. It takes me a long time going over something to be able to remember it properly and I just haven’t been able to do any of that. I’ve emailed my teacher giving her a heads up that my pain has been bad and I have been bed bound the past 5 days and therefore haven’t been able to study, so if I took the exam the likelihood is that I would fail it. I’ve decided not to go into college tomorrow for the exam, because I know what I am like, I will sit there looking at the exam paper, not knowing the answers to the questions so I would stress and stress myself out and get overwhelmed and anxious and possibly have a bit of a breakdown, which is not good for my already bad pain. Therefore the best decision for me and my health is to not put myself in that situation. My teacher emailed back saying that it’s okay if I don’t feel well enough to come in tomorrow and that if I feel able to I can take it on Friday with the other class. So hopefully I may be able to get a bit of studying in before Friday and take the mock exam then.

Though I am really annoyed, I have practically only just got out of a flare up, only to go back into one less than two weeks later. Not a happy bunny!

Forever proving myself wrong.

Just over a year ago now I was hording medication to kill myself with, I was ready to end it all again, to end the pain and suffering and to just not be here anymore. It was around this time last year that something changed in me, all the work I had done with my psychologist finally made sense and I wanted to get better emotionally. So I threw away all the medication and decided to try and turn my miserable life around into a life of acceptance and peace despite pain; though it has been a bumpy road that has had many ups and downs.

This time last year I applied to go to college and to my surprise I got in to do an Access Course to get me qualifications to get into university on. After dropping out of school in 2012 after my overdose I never thought I would be able to go back to education, I never thought I would get anywhere in life. I thought I was doomed to spend the rest of my life in bed living off my parents due to pain and depression. I had a lot of anxiety surrounding going back to education, about whether I would be able to do it, would I be able to cope with studying and the pain. In September I started my course full time (4 days a week for 1 year), I found it to be too much to handle so made the sensible decision to drop to doing it part time (2 days a week for 2 years), which has suited me much better at the minute.
I doubt myself a lot, the problem is I don’t believe in myself, I don’t believe I can achieve anything. For years my life was a string of what I saw as failures, for example, I was unable to complete my A levels 3 times and I ended up dropping out of school. Those being my two biggest issues, so my fear of going back to education when I hadn’t had much luck or success with it in the past I think were pretty valid. I also didn’t believe that my brain worked properly anymore, I didn’t believe I could learn because of the pain, I felt stupid and didn’t believe I would be able to achieve good grades in going back to education. I still struggle with this despite proving myself wrong at every turn.
As it turns out I have got the highest grade there is on nearly all of the assignments I have done, and the one where I got the second highest grade I only just narrowly missed out on the highest one. I didn’t expect to get grades as good as that, I doubted myself and didn’t believe in myself and my abilities, every assignment I expected to fail, so you can imagine my surprise when it turns out not only did I pass but I got the highest grades possible in the majority of them.

I have proven myself wrong in that I have been able to cope with college and that I have been able to achieve high grades despite never thinking I could do this with the pain.
My old GP in Dubai who is a lovely woman and I am actually on a first name basis with, once said that I am not an ‘average joe’ that I am incredibly insightful, intelligent and mature and that I have a hell of a lot to offer the world, that I have something special that a lot of people don’t have, and she said she hoped that I could one day show the world what I am about. Part of me is inclined not to believe the words she once said to me, but that’s because I doubt myself so much and have a lack of a belief in myself. People tell me all the time that I’m strong, that I’m special, that they are proud of me, that they have great hopes for my future, however I tend not to believe them. Everyone else seems to believe in me, so why can’t I believe in myself.

I need to start having more faith in myself and my abilities because I am capable of achieving things despite pain, and it has become clear that I am forever proving myself wrong. I have come so far since this time last year when I never thought that any of this would be possible for me.